What's the best plywood blade? I've had to rip some 3/4 birch ply and really made a mess of it. What's the best alternate to Forrester's Woodworker II that doesn't cost $100?
I don't know about 'best', but I have had success with both a Freud 80T crosscut blade, and a Freud (or Rigid) 50T combo blade. With plywood, a high tooth count helps. Both these blades are well under $100 (more like $50) at the local BORG or yard.
You say "rip". Do you mean just that, or are you having trouble on a crosscut? Or both?
A zero clearance insert helps a lot.
I've had good luck with the Freud industrial line, the LU84 in particular. I like it for it's all round versatility.
I will admit, however, that I sometimes wish for a glass smooth plywood edge, something that is elusive with poplar core plywoods. I believe it is poplar's (aspen) inherent tendency to fuzz no matter what you do to it. Could be wrong, though - I'll be interested in what others have to say.
Sounds like the Poplar core plywood you are using is China ply , try some domestic panels .
Negative. I try my best to stay away from what is called "China Birch" in this area - at least for "nice" projects - I have to use it all too frequently for other things. Horrible stuff.
I buy A1 Cherry, Oak, Birch, Maple and TC Maple on a regular basis from a hardwoods specialty supplier. It is my assumption that it is domestic. It better be at the prices nowadays.
That said, I believe that it is all poplar core. It is generally 7 ply, unlike the many plied China Birch.
I have taken note of Charles' post and will look into the LU80R010
An 80 tooth in a 10" blade with a negative rake will cut veneers as well as Melamine products sweetly .
I like F.S. brand , they were made in Canada .
You ask for " What's the best plywood blade "
for under $100 , hmmm , that may be close to what the prices are on those types of blades .
When the FS blade was new you couldn't tell the top from the bottom on Melamine cuts , little or no chipout , that's why I bought them . Works great for all plywood cuts and usually leaves a smooth edge .
If you use cheap China ply type of products for some reason the edges may not feel smooth with all those thin ply's you would think it would be more stable .
I concur with olddusty that a HiATB grind blade with low or negative hook and a lot of teeth will yield the best results. The Freud versions are the LU79R010 (TK):http://www.freudtools.com/p-16-thin-kerf-ultimate-plywood-melamine.aspx
and the LU80R010 (FK):http://www.freudtools.com/p-15-ultimate-plywood-br-melamine.aspx
If you're looking for 'good' advice, just drop the $100 bucks for the Forrest blade. If you wreck 2 sheets of ply over the next 10 years, the blade has paid for itself. I have 3 that I rotate through, and they give perfect cuts every time. I build cabinets and built ins for clients, and some of the plywood I'm working with costs over $200 per sheet. That's why I keep the best blade I can in the tablesaw, and in my Festool saw, which is what I use for processing sheet goods.
Just get it, you won't be disappointed.
Probably sound advice. I've been having to make cross cuts with my circular saw and it ain't pretty.
I'm getting great results with my circular saw using a 24 tooth carbide blade that I picked up at Lowes for $8.00.
The key is that I made a set of zero clearance jigs - one 8 ft. long for ripping the 4x8 sheet, and another 56" long for cross cutting.
You can find plans for it here and almost any "Tips and Jigs" book. But its so simple, I can describe it for you faster than you can find it.
Take any flat straight 1/2 to 3/4 in board 5" wide and joint one edge dead straight. Make one 100" long for your rip guide, and one 56" long for your cross cut guide.
While it's still straight, Screw it down to a 14 " wide piece of 1/4" plywood with the unjointed side about 2" from one edge. That gives you 7" of excess plywood to make your zero clearance guide with.Again, one 96" long (100 is better, but 96" is what's available), and one 56" long.
Now, with a nice piece of 2" thick blue foam board under it, and using your jointed edge as your guide, and your new 24 tooth carbide blade installed in your saw, cut off the excess plywood.
The resulting edge is where you will put your new set of guides onto your desired cut line. The 2" edge on the other side is where you clamp the guide to what-ever you want to cut. You will be pleasantly surprised at the ease and quality of the resulting cut.
One caveat - the guide is cut for the blade installed in the saw. If you decide to try a finer cut blade, move your guide over a bit, and cut a fresh edge. But you may find, as I did, that a finer blade bogs the saw down and makes the cut harder to control.
By the way - the resulting cut is NOT as nice as you will get with the Festool, but then what is, and it will still be a darn nice cut for just a dollar or two cheaper.
Edited 12/8/2007 9:00 pm ET by Mike_D
Many thanks. I appreciate it.
The high tooth count Hi-ATB blades excel at cutting plywood and veneers, as well as hardwoods.
If you're looking for the cleanest cut, the Forrest Duraline, Freud LU79 or LU80 are excellent choices if you can find one within budget.
The CMT 255.080.10 is very close in performance for ~ $51 shipped with Amazon's "BLDPROMO" code (same code will get 20% off Freud or Forrest too).
Edited 12/7/2007 2:59 pm ET by Knotscott
Just to confuse the issue a bit. I just cut some cherry veneered plywood with my new Festool saw. I have never seen such a clean edge, top and bottom, with any blade in my TS. Moreover, I was much more comfortable bringing the saw to the 4X8 sheet than the other way around as I work alone.
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